The Lamborghini Aventador S is a shameless throwback to a time before turbochargers and hybrid-powertrains, with its free-breathing V12 engine and single-clutch gearbox. It also has a fixed roof: good for keeping the rain out, bad for people who enjoy the wind in their hair and unfiltered engine noise. For those people there's now the Aventador S Roadster.
It's a bit of a dinosaur, but the naturally-aspirated V12 engine in the Aventador S Roadster is still seriously powerful. With 740 hp (552 kW) of power on tap, it sprints to 100 km/h (62 mph) in three seconds flat, on the way to a top speed of 350 km/h (217 mph). We shudder to think how your hair would look afterwards, but that's besides the point.
The roof itself isn't a new-fangled folding hardtop, or even a powered soft top. Instead, it's made up of two removable hard panels. They weigh less than 6 kg (13 lb), thanks largely to a carbon fiber construction, although the fact they only cover a very small area helps as well. Once removed, they can be stored in the trunk up front. If you're picky, you could probably argue that the small roof opening and manually-removable panels make the drop-top Aventador more of a targa than a true roadster, but we aren't here to squabble over definitions.
Under the skin, the roofless Aventador S has all the same chassis improvements gifted to the coupe when it was updated last year. Four-wheel steering helps improve the turning circle at low speed and makes the car feel more stable at high speed, while variable-ratio steering has been fitted for sharper turn-in at speed. Real-time variable damping and new rear springs for the pushrod suspension have been fitted, while reworked software for the stability control can more precisely manage the amount of grunt being sent to the wheels.
An active rear wing has been fitted for a 50 percent improvement in aerodynamic efficiency in high-downforce mode and an improvement of more than 400 percent in low-drag trim. You get 130 percent more downforce than the regular Aventador up front, too.
Grunt is put to the road through a revised four-wheel drive system, which now sends less torque to the front wheels. Lamborghini says this allows owners to indulge in little drifts and live to tell the tale. If you don't like the idea of sliding your super-powerful, not to mention super-expensive, supercar, flicking into Corsa Mode delivers a more conservative torque split for stabler, more neutral handling. Sounds sensible, but where's the fun in that?
As you'd expect of a car like this, there are options aplenty for the interior and exterior trim. The example you see here is finished in a custom shade of Blu Aegir, offset with lashings of carbon fiber and pale-trimmed interior. Thanks to the Lamborghini Ad Personam program, essentially any color and material combination is possible, provided you have the time and money to make it happen.
While we're talking money, the Aventador S Roadster will cost US$460,250 when it arrives in February 2018. It isn't cheap, then, but you can't put a price on drama, and the Roadster has no shortage of that.